ERA launches regional guideline to the Sustainable Development Goals

This April, ERA is launching its guideline to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agenda 2030, as a tool for LGBTI advocacy in the Western Balkans, Turkey and the rest of the world, to best understand the goals and use them to advance legal, social and economic rights of LGBTI+ persons. 

The SDGs, which are 17 in number, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone. They are people-centered and transformative and an expressed commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and promote sustainable development. Today, progress has been made on many levels, but overall, action to meet the SDGs is not yet advancing at the speed or scale required. 2020 needs to usher in a decade of ambitious action to deliver the Goals by 2030. 

The Goal’s main principle is “Leave no one behind” which aims to make sure that everyone, regardless of any personal characteristic, such as country they live in, their socio-economic status, education, race, religion or any other personal ground, is beneficiary of these goals. The principle is especially relevant to LGBTI+ people, who have been repeatedly left behind by national and international development initiatives. Discriminatory laws, projects that don’t acknowledge their specific needs and negative social attitudes have all combined to hold LGBTI people back. The impacts of this are felt by LGBTI communities in all parts of the world – lower income, worse health, less education, among others. As a result, poverty as a whole will never truly be eradicated until no one is left behind, including LGBTI persons. 

In addition to this guideline, to make use of the SGDs, ERA has developed an SDG engagement plan 2019-2021. This has so far resulted in the following actions:

  • In April 2019 a regional webinar on SDGs was conducted by ERA in cooperation with UN Serbia and the UN Free & Equal. The webinar aimed to bring our members closer to the SDGs and aimed to provide basic knowledge on the topic; 
  • In May 2019, ERA joined the SDGs SOGIESC Group, which is set to facilitate engagement of civil society working on SOGIESC issues with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs;
  • In June 2019 ERA joined a round-table on implementation of SDGs in Serbia organized by SRH Serbia, GIZ and IPPF where we provided inputs on the position of LGBTI persons in the country for the shadow report on implementation of SDGs in Serbia;
  • In July 2019, ERA provided inputs on inclusion of LGBTI persons into the local plan on SDGs to its member organization LGBT Centre Split, in Croatia; 
  • On 20 September 2019, ERA in close partnership with its member organisation from Bosnia and Herzegovina - CURE Foundation, submitted a Written Contribution on the position of LBTI women in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UN CEDAW. The report contains 7 recommendations, including the recommendation to include all women and girls in Bosnia and Herzegovina in national, entity, cantonal and local policy frameworks related to women and girls, secure sustainable core and operational funding and participation in decision making processes for civil society organisations working with lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex women and girls and introduce data collection on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristic in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 and 10 and 2030 Agenda.
  • During 2019 High-level Political Forum (HLPF), LGBTI Stakeholder Group was formed under Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS). ERA followed the developments through SDGs SOGIESC Group. The first Position Paper of this group for 2020 HLPF is under preparation and ERA disseminated the questionnaire on the content of the paper (prepared by the Group) to its member organisations via social media. In the second phase, ERA will contribute with its own inputs to the draft of the Position paper and will contribute to further developments of the LGBTI Stakeholder Group and the documents related to 2020 HLPF

For the near future ERA is planning the following activities: 

  • As North Macedonia and Slovenia are scheduled to send their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), ERA plans to get engaged with its member organisations from these two countries to prepare Spotlight reports on the topic of SDGs and LGBTI. The reports are to be submitted by 1 June 2020. ERA will work on Spotlight Reports for other countries as well in the following years, in line with their VNRs.
  • As part of the Rainbow Advocacy Programme 2019-2020 organised by RFSL Sweden, ERA’s Advocacy Manager will participate in the first week of the 2020 HLPF. This is going to be a great opportunity to get engaged with SDGs at the very centre of their development and implementation. In addition, it will provide insights to ERA for further engagement on the implementation and LGBTI inclusion of SDGs in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
  • ERA will focus on including SDGs as one of the key factors of LGBTI inclusion in all of the alternative reports to be prepared and submitted to UN treaty and charter-based bodies throughout the year, such as alternative report on the implementation of UN CAT in Montenegro (23 March 2020) and Serbia (9 October 2020), UPR mid-term report on Serbia (15 June 2020), alternative report on the implementation of UN ICESCR in Bosnia and Herzegovina (late June 2020) and Serbia (January 2021) and so on. 

Download the guideline here

For any questions on how to include the SDGs in your work please send us an email at [email protected]or [email protected]

This activity is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.